by Bevin Clare
“Our intention was to create a formative and fully voluntary process to promote a culture of collegial scholarship.”
OverviewA university can implement a voluntary peer supportive review process with the adoption of open-source materials and simple administrative design. Faculty engagement can be high in programs which are voluntary and formative in nature and can set the stage of peer collaboration before more comprehensive peer-review programs are implemented.
Establishing a Peer-Review FrameworkWith the expansion of online learning and our growing faculty, MUIH required an expanded and online-friendly peer-review program. While some peer review programs can evoke a groan, our intention was to create a formative and fully voluntary process to promote a culture of collegial scholarship. The voluntary and formative nature of this peer review process assists in creating a refined and mature peer-review process prior to implementing summative or mandatory peer-review evaluation. The initial phase of the peer review process seeks to fulfill three goals:
- Set a positive, formative process for peer review
- Utilize a group of voluntary participants to initiate and inform the process
- Gather data to implement a broader peer review plan
The Peer-Review ProcessOur process as the faculty development and assessment committee to launch the peer review program consisted of the following:
- Review, revise and customize the forms provided by Penn State University: http://facdev.e-education.psu.edu/evaluate-revise/peerreviewonline.
- Create an online course portal where we offered the following:
- an overview of the program
- a flow chart of the process (for both reviewer and instructor)
- an instructor input form to gather information on their course (which is then provided to the reviewer)
- extensive instructions for the reviewer and the instructor, both written and in video form e. the forms and resources necessary to complete the review
- A category of “peer reviewer” was added to our Student Information System to allow reviewers full and unrestricted access to the course for the purposes of review.
- A communication was sent to all faculty which explained the process and included a link to a survey to ask if they were interested in participating, in what role, and if they were teaching online or F2F course.
- Instructors were able to choose their course reviewed in this voluntary program. An instructor form was completed with course details and sent to the reviewer.
- Review is conducted.
- A report is created by the reviewer and presented to the instructor. In this fully voluntary and formative process the instructor is not required to share the results of this peer review although they may choose to reflect upon it in their annual review.
- A survey of all participants is created and implemented.
- Ongoing revision and evaluation as well as the development of a more summative, required peer review program.
SummaryOur initial two trimesters of the program included instructors from each of our departments as well as a majority of our ranked faculty body. Faculty cited the collaborative and positive peer experience as appealing, the ease of participating (including no required synchronous activities) and many faculty chose to engage without concern of the results being provided as part of their annual formal evaluation. Our intention as a Faculty Development and Assessment team was to create a culture of peer support and collaborative growth prior to creating a more summative and required format. As was reported in our evaluations, faculty were overwhelmingly positive about the experience and many participated in sequential trimesters.
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